TULSA, Okla. » Campaigning in Republican territory, Hillary Clinton said Friday her opponents are all talk when it comes to defeating the Islamic State group but she’s the only candidate with a specific plan.
“The others, they talk a lot, they throw out all of these approaches,” Clinton said at a rally in Oklahoma. “But I’ve been in the situation room in the White House and I know what it’s going to take and I will keep America safe.”
The Democratic presidential candidate and former secretary of state sought to emphasize her foreign policy credentials in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack in Paris and a massacre in California currently under investigation by the FBI as an act of terrorism.
Republican candidates have assailed President Barack Obama as being weak on responding to the rise of the Islamic State and are seeking to link the White House to Clinton’s record on foreign policy. Clinton has sought to offer an extensive plan to dismantle the terrorist group from the air, ground and online, and plans to outline her strategy for homeland security next week.
Clinton reiterated she would not send American ground troops to the region if elected president, saying it was “not smart” and is what terrorists would want to happen.
Clinton was campaigning in Oklahoma, a safe Republican state in general elections, and one of several “Super Tuesday” states holding Democratic primary contests March 1.
She joked: “I know that you don’t get many Democratic candidates running for president in Oklahoma. That’s one of the reasons I’m so happy to be here.”
Clinton spoke later Friday in Missouri, which has turned increasingly Republican but has historically been a bellwether state. The last time she ran in the Missouri primary, in February 2008, she lost narrowly to Barack Obama. The 2016 Missouri primary is on March 15.
In St. Louis, Clinton discussed her economic plan to supporters gathered at an International Association of Sheet Metal Workers union hall. She said one thing has become evident over the past 35 years: “Our economy does better when we have a Democrat in the White House. That is just a fact.”
She pledged to create more jobs, raise wages and ensure that women get equal pay. She touted her plan for a national infrastructure bank to help build and rebuild roads, bridges, dams and other infrastructure. She said she wants a “manufacturing renaissance tax credit” to return jobs from overseas.
Among those at the rally was Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown. The fatal shooting of Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a white police officer in 2014 in nearby Ferguson led to weeks of protest and helped spur the national Black Lives Matter movement.
A small number of protesters from the St. Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle briefly chanted at the event, but Clinton never paused in her speech.
Associated Press writers Ken Thomas in Washington and Jim Salter in St. Louis contributed to this report.